Sunday, 30 May 2010


After a pretty rubbish day yesterday, when I couldn't find any birds anywhere, today was a significant improvement.
Just to put yesterday morning into perspective: I arrived at the Nanaimo River estuary to find top local birder Steve Baillie tapping determinedly into his Blackberry. He informed me that I'd missed a male lazuli bunting by minutes! Nice find, Steve!
Despite an hour searching the area, I failed to relocate it - or anything else of interest. Ralph Hocken arrived, and after a while I decided to go and check the mudflats, in case any shorebirds were out there taking advantage of the low tide. Ralph came along and we soon discovered that the food-rich estuary was being spectacularly ignored by any long-billed transients. A quick, desperate, stop at Holden Creek was equally bleak.
Ever optimistic, I returned to the estuary in search of a certain bunting late afternoon, to no avail. Though, a pair of warbling vireo in the oak provided a pleasant distraction.

So, I decided to take Sunday a lot more easily. Jenny and I took a leisurely stroll to Hemer Park, before the rain commenced. Highlights here included: chipping sparrowswestern tanager, black-headed grosbeak & gadwall.

Later, I headed down to Holden Creek and gave it a thorough once-over. A single pectoral sandpiper was on the 'back pool' - see pic. Other than that, just the usual spotted sandpipers, killdeer, red-tailed hawk, yellow warbler etc were noted. An osprey flew over.
I drove over to the estuary and decided to have a careful creep around the bushes near the big oak - just in case...
After rousing a few white-crowned sparrows, my pishing was met with a distinctive 'tick' call, considerably less metallic sounding that the w.c. sparrows'. I continued to pish and BINGO! Up popped the lazuli bunting. It sat out in the open for a short while, allowing a snap or two, before diving into the brambles. Thrilled (yes, it was a world tick!), I decided to leave it alone and have a quick check from the platform.
The rain was coming in now, and other than 3 green-winged teal on the river, there was little to get excited about. I headed back to the car and was amazed to see the lazuli bunting feeding on the footpath between the oak and the car park! It flew up and landed on the wire fence, posing nicely before flying off towards the fields.



  1. Nice pic of the Lazuli Bunting!!....Cheers,Ralph

  2. Thanks Ralph. Not quite in your league though...! I was pretty happy when it sat out long enough for me get a snap, I must say.